Washington: Adhering to a low calorie diet could slow down the process of ageing, according to new research.
Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, in the US, also suggested that consuming fewer calories might even ward off major diseases from diabetes to cancer, and dementia to heart illness
They focused on a powerhouse of cells called mitochondria. In the early stages of ageing, the mitochondria begin to degrade.
The experts discovered this was because of changes in a membrane – known as the vacuole – which lost its acidity.
However, restricting calorie intake helped to keep the acidity high, the researchers reported in the journal Nature.
“It’s very clear from these studies that caloric restriction has a powerful, protective effect against diseases associated with ageing,” the Daily Express quoted Professor John Holloszy, who has carried out similar research into the effects of cutting calories, as saying.
“If people’s hearts are ageing more slowly, it’s conceivable they will live for a very long time,” he stated.
The team at Fred Hutchinson made the latest breakthrough by experimenting on yeast.
“Normally, mitochondria are beautiful, long tubes, but as cells get older, the mitochondria become fragmented and chunk,” said researcher Dr Daniel Gottschling.
“The changes in shape seen in ageing yeast cells are also observed in certain human cells, such as neurons and pancreatic cells and those changes have been associated with a number of age-related diseases in humans.”
“There has been a lot in the scientific literature and the general media lately about how what you eat affects the ageing process, but it has been incredibly confusing. Now we have a new paradigm for understanding how genetics and environment interact to influence lifespan, ageing and age-related diseases. That’s what I’m really excited about,” Dr Gottschling added.